How did I get to quilting as Rhapsody red T-shirt Quilts?
All of us have our personal history that is a significant player in who we are today. And most exciting is that each of us is very different and not so different because of our experiences.
I grew up in rural Northern California. My parents were Mexican, Catholic, and old-fashioned. They immigrated from Mexico shortly after getting married and only had a sixth-grade education. They very much wanted us to have a better life.
We are a close family. Being the only girl in a family of four kids, I was glued to my Mom. I absorbed so much from her. My values and beliefs are heavily influenced by her. I also learned how to sew from my Mom. She was a very creatively talented woman.
I also took it for granted I was going to college. And I did. We all did. I got my BS in Civil Engineering at the University of the Pacific. And did what you were expected to do. Get a job! My first company moved me out to Orlando, FL, for a project, and I stayed, going on 35 years now.
Thirty-four years later, I retired from Walt Disney World after 30 years of service, split between Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney World.
What got me into quilting is a very typical story; making a quilt for a baby. I wanted to make something unusual (for my family, no quilters in the family) for my nephew. So I learned how to quilt. I made that quilt and didn’t think about quilting for a while. Then my friends started having babies. I made quilt after quilt after quilt. I was really enjoying it. Then the babies stopped, and so did the quilting.
It wasn’t until several years later that I set out to teach my daughter and step-daughter how to quilt. At the ages of 8 and 10, they each made their own quilt which they both still have. That is when the bug finally bit me. I kept making quilts. Not a lot at first since I was busy with work and raising kids.
Once the kids were out of the house, I quilted almost daily. I didn’t have family or friends who quilted, so I turned to the internet to learn. I absorbed all sorts of online classes. I watched them over and over again until I was solid with the new skills. Then, I moved on to the next one and the next one. Finally, I decided I was done with classes, and I just needed to practice, practice, practice.
Starting Rhapsody red
I eventually ran out of occasions or people to give the quilts to. Enter stage right – Rhapsody red T-shirt Quilts. It was perfect timing. I was only a few years from retiring. So I started Rhapsody red on slow burn while still working full time. Now, this is my full-time gig, and I love it.
For my personal quilts, I enjoy mainly making modern-style quilts. I love to use negative space in my designs. I am a winter person (I just learned that recently) and am attracted to bright colors. I gravitate to order and straight lines but also enjoy putting things at an angle. My husband rolls his eyes when I put furniture at an angle in a room.
Quilting is meditative. It offers me challenges and serves as my creative outlet. And it provides an avenue for me to continue to learn. They say you should never stop learning, and I intend to do that. I am sometimes surprised by how much math I use. I also meet great people and am honored to provide a service that gives them so much joy.
A few of my favorite projects are Red Sentiment, Stinking Cute Cat, and Winston. Red Sentiment was made in honor of my Mom. Stinking Cute Cat is a pattern by Shwin & Shwin called Hip Kitty. The quilting on this one is straight lines which really let the pattern shine. I couldn’t stand how cute it was, almost didn’t gift it. Winston was one of my first designs. The colors are what bring me back to it. The quilting is very open and freeform, and I used wool as the batting. With the open quilting and the wool batting, it feels very comfy.
I don’t get a chance very often to quilt for myself at the moment. I am busy quilting for clients, ironic, right. However, I have a list of quilts I am waiting to start. They are my “someday” goals.
I spent 34 years in a career of my choice and am very fortunate to have had the opportunities that I did. Now, moving on to the next chapter in my life, I also find myself graced with the ability to again do what I love.
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” ~ Marc Anthony